All posts filed under: Techniques

The Hybrid Portuguese Broa

Now, about that loaf… What began as a way to get a better English Muffin, evolved into something even more fantastic than I really could imagine. As you read earlier, I was out to make a modified starter – which we did, and succeeded in that task. What came next was to modify the dough to impart more flavor. To do that, I borrowed a lot from a standard  sourdough recipe utilizing a long slow refrigerated proof and by adding a certain amount of corn flour (superfine milled corn meal) to the mix as well. Tasting the dough, I knew I was on to something. So, I decided to check around through my books and see if there was an actual existing loaf like what I was creating. There is…. kinda… sorta. This is basically a Portuguese Broa loaf. Although mine has the addition of the starter.. and  less corn flour, and there is less sugar than in a traditional loaf…. then there’s the whole 24 to 36 hour cooler rise going on… So…yeah… kinda, but …

The Pink Pig – Roasted

The Pink Pig. Those three odd little words used to conjure all kinds of wonder and joy in children when I was a little guy. Why? Because… it was a ride, A RIDE,  located high on top of the Rich’s Department Store in downtown Atlanta. They would only crank the behemoth up at Christmastime to thrill the kids – who in turn would whine, cry and then force their parents to drive all the way downtown to do their Christmas shopping. My parents either didn’t listen to us… or knew exactly what the pig was.. Either way, we never got see… let alone ride the pig. The closest we ever got to the downtown Rich’s was either on a Sunday drive (when it was closed), or occasionally to see the lighting of the Big Tree at Thanksgiving (again, when Rich’s was closed)…. My folks didn’t do gimmicks. I finally got to see the infamous “pig” some years later after I had started driving. It was a cheesy monorail… … that rattled and clanged … and moved slower than …

Bread Whore ~ TOAST

I’ve always loved great toast. And apparently, I’m not alone.  I read somewhere the other day that toast has become a “thing“. Affected, terribly cool people are flocking to certain restaurants where they serve big, thick,  honkin’ slabs of complicated bread (probably kneaded on the thighs of Tahitian women), hand toasted over hardwood coals, and served with rare, artisan snoozleberry jam and yak butter churned during a full moon. Probably… Maybe… but you know what I’m talking about.   It seems to be the trend these days to take something exceedingly simple – and remake it into a ritual… a process…. an ordeal. Me? I can’t be bothered. For toast to be enjoyable, it only has to have: 1.  a developed richness that comes from fermentation 2. an outer crust that stays crisp even as the toast cools 3. toast centers that are tender and soft. Toasting Bread Some years ago I came across an English Toasting Bread (or English Muffin Bread) at one of the markets in the area. So I thought for this episode of …

The Mayo Clinic

While theoretically a sauce, mayonnaise has become the mother of all condiments in the  States. A tomato sandwich just isn’t a sandwich without mayo, and a banana sammich – if you ain’t got the mayonnaise, just forget about it. It is the basis for thousands of sandwich spreads, it is the glue – the lubrication – and the binder for any well appointed thing between 2 slices of bread…. and I’m of the camp that “more is better.” Although, one of Jane’s first babysitters for us kids used to make ham sandwiches that squooched mayo out the sides when you tried to bite into it. I think there’s a happy place somewheres just short of that mark. Here’s the thing, I used to giggle when people said they made their own condiments. Making something that you can pick up off the shelf never really made all that much sense…. until 2 years ago. As you know, we’re currently living in prepared food hell, so anything that used to be a no-brainer now has dire consequences. …

Test Kitchen – The Fake Soy Sauce Reparation

Well, when we last left our hero and heroine – they had tracked down the source of a great many of Jane’s problems to certain food ingredients and combinations. At the time of the Train Ride  to Crazytown, we had only tested Soybean oil as a culprit. As it turned out – any food even barely kissed with any part of the soy bean does a number on her. Which means… No Tofu, No Soy Flour, No Soy…well, anything – in any amount. And that meant no soy sauce… which (if you’ve seen 99% of my recipes) is a problem. Doing my research, I came across Raw Coconut Aminos as a possible substitute. Made from fermented coconut pulp, it was supposed to be the answer. And – in all fairness – if you aren’t dealing with the issues we are, then it probably would work perfectly well for you as a “No Soy” soy sauce…. even if the after taste is a tad coconutty. (just make a lot of Polynesian dishes with it) Our problem was …

Bread Whore – The Hirohito / Mussolini Method

In another time, I might have given the dough a kinder, more compassionate name. But with that Cold War machine out there priming the pump, I’m feeling a tad evil. Generally speaking, this is the focaccia recipe from last month. – but – after making my usual weekly loaf of Hokkaido style TangZhong bread, I had 1/2 of the cooked roux left over. So… I says, “hmmm…. wonder what this would do in the focaccia recipe?” and, “What if I tweaked it and made pizza crust with it too?” So, I did. Axis Powers Pizza / Focaccia Dough Makes 1 Focaccia and 1- 20″ Pizza Ingredients 2 1/4 Cups Bread Flour 1/3 Cup TangZhong Cooked Roux (click through the linky to get the preparation on it) 1 Tablespoon Dry Yeast 1 Teaspoon Salt 1 Tablespoon Sorghum Syrup (or Barley Malt Syrup) 1 Cup Hot Water 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon Garlic Infused Oil To make a Focaccia: Follow the focaccia procedure as you would for a  normal loaf. To make Pizza Dough: after kneading  with …

Don’t make me smack you with this salad bowl…

I also like a great Caesar salad with anchovies, although I don’t know why some places say ‘with anchovies.’ If you’re making a proper Caesar salad, it’s going to have anchovies. – Paula Poundstone Like everyone from time to time… I guess, I seem to forget the little things in life… Where I left my car keys My ATM pin number Did I take my vitamins this morning? The name of the guy… that did that thing… Do I have a cat? Why do I have 12 cans of chickpeas? And, although I’ve made it countless times for more people than I care to count – the recipe for Caesar Dressing. Granted, it’s not a big thing. Unless you really want that dressing for your freshly steamed broccoli, and in that case… Paul Newman’s bottled Caesar stuff (watery Italian dressing with cheese in it) just isn’t even going to come close to doing it. But it irked me. I knew it had anchovies in it…I remembered smashing them around in the big wooden bowl. But then.. nothing. …

Simple Dinner Sunday – Pork Cutlets with Mushroom Sauce

I’ve never been one of those shoppers with a rigid grocery list. Sticking to a list, ticking off every little thing so you stay within $.50 of your budgeted grocery allowance just doesn’t work for me. I like the thrill of the economical buy. And, I do like a bargain. Reference the… 6 packs of ox tail for $1.95 a pack 1/2 bushel of okra for eight bucks family pack of 1.5 pound fryers (really, really tiny chickens) for 89 cents each industrial-sized bag of frozen chopped spinach… So, just imagine the joy of unearthing a 1 lb pack of “Cubed Pork Cutlets” for $1.35. I was over the moon happy. Really… Until, I got them home… Here’s the thing with cubed meat. Cubing is a process intended to break up the relatively tough muscle in bad cuts of meat. The protein feeds into the whacka-chopper, and it smashes 1/4″ divots into the slab of toughness. Top Round, Eye of Round, Brisket, Vein Strips – all good candidates for the cubing mawl… Pork? not so much. Pork, …

Curb Market Crawl – Early Peaches

Peach Butter Bingo Yeah, I know it… I’m not right. The super early crop of peaches here in Georgia has got me in a spin. The unusually early warm temperatures has produced a bumper (and I mean B U M P E R) crop of peaches a whole month before we would normally see them. So I’ve been reeling on what to do with them… and not doing very much. Which means, of the ahem, bushel of peaches I bought, some have began to look rather unsightly and blemished. And that’s the problem with buying a whole heap of peaches without a plan. when I stopped in to R and A Orchards, Jessica at the orchard suggested I make peach butter with the peels. “They’ll taste just like dried peach pie.” She knows me well… I love me some dried peaches. And, while that might take care of some of the problem…I was still left with a whole lotta bruising, not-quite-ripe and over-ripeness going on. So I did the next best thing … I punted. I came …

Arm-Wrestling the Machine – Fresh Tagliatelle

I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t make a lot of pasta from scratch. I have a pasta maker, it’s very shiny… it’s been out of the box a total of 3 times since I bought it in 2003. Once to retrieve the instruction booklet so I could learn how to use it, once to show it off to an envious friend, and once to mangle a batch of lasagna noodles – they got wrapped around the little rollers and formed a solid mass of dough deep inside the works. I spent the next 2 weeks with a skewer and a toothpick fishing out the crusty, dried eggy bits out of the workings. I wiped the machine down, shined it with Windex, and put it back in the cupboard…way in the back… behind the salad spinner. So, I usually end up buying dried pasta. But in getting ready for the Chicken Vesuvio post (coming up next) I decided that IF I was going through all the trouble of making the dish… I OUGHT to bite the bullet and …